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No One Expects the Spanish Revolution?

by ManfromMiddletown Fri May 20th, 2011 at 05:41:26 AM EST

As many of you now know, Spain is currently experiencing a people's movement similar to what happened in Egypt.  People have occupied plazas in Madrid and other cities, demanding change. With regional elections coming on Sunday, the push has already began to have the police break the thing up.  But I don't think this is the end.  As a Spanish writer put it the "Tahrir" virus has come to Europe.

Where freedom doesn't exist it's neccesary to lose fear, it succeeded in Tunisia and Egypt, it's succeeding in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. It will succeed in more countries, Arab or not. Where there is freedom it's necessary to break the malaise, a conformity which has transformed (terrorized) citizens into consumers, some 100%.  

Madrid isn't Tahrir, but the "virus" is the same: an abundance of youth without hope, doomed to a declining market modernized by cutting social rights and jobs, with the only prospect long-term trash contracts. There are thousands of stories of men and women who can't find a position, who suffer. No one speaks of them. The party line prevails, that of the others, of bureaucratese, of press conferences without questions, of the untouchables.

These forgotten tales, neglected, find resonance in social networks(Twitter: #15M; #nonosvamos, #spanishrevolution). As in Egypt: young, and not so young, mobilize themselves without organizations, without flags, without a sponsored-by, only because it is a right.

frontpaged - Nomad


Manufacturing a Crisis

From the coverage that Spain does receive in American media, you would think that the government is one of the more deeply indebted in the EU. However, this is simply false. Eurostat data (see below) shows that Spain has a moderately high current government deficit, but has an actual sovereign debt substantially lower than France, Germany, or the UK.

So if that isn't the problem, what is?

Spain doesn't have a government debt problem. It does have an enormous private debt problem. Household debt is part of the problem, but is far overshadowed by business debt. The reason that the Spanish government faces such a premium when financing debt is that the banks doing the lending expect the government to be called upon to assume this private debt in the near future.

Spanish banking is quite neo-liberal to start with: Mortgage holders are responsible for the full amount of the loan taken. So, if their property is underwater, the difference between the amount the bank was able to sell the property for and loan amount is still owed by the borrower. But the panic isn't coming from Madrid.

Now that we know the truth about where the debt lies, we need to ask who holds it. Yes, there is a great deal of domestic exposure here: Spanish banks holding Spanish debt. But, when you look about the Merkel-Sarkozy axis of austerity, the pattern of Spanish debt holdings becomes all the more suspect.

French and German banks are heavily exposed to Spanish private debt. The Spanish government is being called upon to assuming this debt, and implement austerity measures to pay the bill, as a means for Merkel and Sarkozy to protect their nation's haute finance. It's the banksters stupid!

But it's the Spanish public paying the bill.

The Roots of Revolution

Numbers from the National Statistics Institute tell of how the crisis has played out.

Unemployment is a peculiar Spanish bane. The country regularly has a rate higher than the rest of the continent. The overall rate stands at more than 20%. The collapse of the real estate market and declines in tourism help explain this in part. More serious is the fact that much of the country has a business class intent on competing on low labor costs, even though this is out of step with the reality of modern Spain. As bad as this has been for country as a whole, the burden on young workers has been hardest. Youth unemployment in the country lies at nearly 50%.

Angry, unemployed youth are the fuel that lit the Arab Spring. And, Spain has them in spades. That shit is going sideways now doesn't seem like it should be a surprise.

Real Democracy Now!

On the 15 of May a protest was held by a group calling itself Real Democracy Now! in Madrid and other sites throughout Spain. Some of the protesters decided that they would remain the night in Plaza del Sol, Spain's equivalent of Times Square.

Although they were eventually moved out of the plaza by police, the protesters have returned to occupy the plaza until regional elections are held this coming Sunday. The opposition conservative party, PP, holds the Madrid mayor's office and the regional presidency. At first, the party greeted the protests as a sign that the Socialists, ruling at the national level, were going to be ejected from office in many regions.

That has changed. The regional government was the one that ordered the initial removal from Sol. More recently, the regional elections authority banned the protest in Madrid. As protests have popped up throughout the country, the odd situation emerged in which some were deemed legal by regional authorities and other region's argued they were an illegal attempt to influence voting. The most recent news is that the Constitutional court has ruled in favor of all protests, but I doubt this is the end of it.

It appears that something of a Spanish revolution is underway at the moment. Only time will tell how this ends.

Display:
Another ElPais blog: The left commits suicide
According to Metroscopia's surveys, the fidelity of PP voters exceeds 80%.

...

The fidelity of PSOE voters barely exceeds 40%.

An important part of socialist voters consider that the suicide began when Zapatero betrayed the left ans so they prefer other options. Or abstention, because PSOE's problem is the lack of mobilization of their supporters.

The day after ZP won the elections on March 14, 2004, the cry of the youth on the street was Zapatero, no nos falles (Zapatero, don't let us down). Today, it's Zapatero nos falla y nos reprime (Zapatero lets us down and represses us).

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 18th, 2011 at 05:15:03 PM EST
What about IU? Have this whole thing revived them somewhat?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed May 18th, 2011 at 06:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the protests themselves, but the whole austerity drive has given them a new lease of life.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 18th, 2011 at 06:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is their stance towards the protesters? Are they considered by the protest movement "part of the system" or do they have some credibility...?

Here the local stalinists are disapproving of these "petty bourgeois" movements that "draw attention away from the class struggle". No. Seriously: KKE said that about Spain, quoting these people, approvingly.
The non stalinist radical left (SYRIZA antarsya to its left, some sort of maoist-trotskyite mix, and the Anarchists) however are pushing the story like crazy, mumbling things like "we're next, eh?" and admiring the fact that the protesters have managed to contain violent groups so far (?) (the MS tv stations have not said a word about these protests so far AFAIK, indicative of the sort of editorial censorship that passes for news here).

These Egyptian reactions I found moving BTW:



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IU tried to coopt the movement by lodging an appeal yesterday before the Supreme court against the election commission's ban.

I think that's dangerous and counterproductive: the protesters's claim to not be politically affiliated is their stronger argument against the electoral commission ban of the protest during election day and the 24h prior. If IU associates itself with the protesters, they lose their cover of being just regular citizens.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 03:33:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or is that a naive question?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno.

Spanish pirates are active

Social r-evolution in Spain - #spanishrevolution

We are using piratenpad teams (thanks to PiratenPartei!), Mumble, IRC, Facebook groups, Doodle, Twitter, a simple polling application but with advanced anti-fraud non-registered-user poll system (developed by Pirates de Catalunya's CTO), etc. We use whatever tools necessary to deliver information and help in the organization and decision-making.

Catalan Pirates had been trying to engage IT usage in social movements, so we can take advantage of these resources to build flat organizations.

Doing the tech part, apparently.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:59:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
We are using piratenpad teams (thanks to PiratenPartei!)

Oh, hope they did not rely to heavily on them as German cops seized the servers of Piratenpartei today. See the open thread.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 03:03:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have the feeling that this will lead to the PP gaining seats, because there's either abstention or a switch to the IU.

But, the irony is that the flashpoint in Madrid is going to ignite because Aguirre and the PP suffer from delusional paranoia.

Ironic.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed May 18th, 2011 at 06:55:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the start of a long 2012 election campaign.

Sunday there are local and regional elections in which the PSOE will be routed. The PP will ask for early elections but there's no need.

Immediately after the elections the PSOE will have a primary to select ZP's successor. The candidates are expected to be Rubalcaba and Chacón.

Some time in the month of June I have predicted "the markets" will "attack" Spain's bonds.

Throughout this whole process I expect the protest movement to continue.

Elections are scheduled for March next year. ZP has said he has no intention to bring the election forward.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 18th, 2011 at 07:04:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ZP has said he has no intention to bring the election forward.

Let us hope that he is able to follow through on his intention. Given the existing direction of economic trends and the resulting pressure on the population, by trying to maximize his tenure, ZP may just succeed in providing the time and circumstances for a successor party dedicated to actually solving the problem to emerge. A lot of education needs to occur between now and then.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 18th, 2011 at 10:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spanish "15 May Movement" has been organised around the mottos "Real Democracy Already" (Democracia Real Ya) or "Get indignant" (Indígnate). There is a website: http://democraciarealya.es/

There are associated facebook groups in Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Athens, Florence, and Budapest.


Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 03:59:43 AM EST
Migeru:
"Get indignant" (Indígnate)

In French: "Indignez vous!".

by Bernard on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 07:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking that the (American) English would be get pissed, which is different (but not mutually exclusive) with the way that the British use the phrase.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 08:08:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 08:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I prefer "Get Fired Up" even if Obama has co-opted it. "Get Pissed" just seems too tea-party.
by Upstate NY on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 10:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I prefer "get pissed". The problem with the tea party is not their anger, its in taking their marching orders from Big Oil and Fox News.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 09:50:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://democraciarealya.es/ gives me a blank page. But our ET posters who are fluent in Spanish could comment and provide appropriate links to ET diaries and comments for this site.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 09:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's been out since noon EST yesterday, at least.


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 03:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've posted a diary about this on Daily Kos.

I can crosspost if people want that.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 10:12:11 AM EST
As far as I can tell, the bit above the fold is just like the one here. Why don't you cross-post the rest below the fold?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 10:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea.  I didn't want to post a new diary here, because the intro is the same.  I'll just update the diary.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 11:14:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is an Update function where you can describe what you have added to or changed in a diary. It appears when you use Edit my Diary. I believe it automatically time stamps the update.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 09:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent diarz.. it is our job to tell the people in the demonstration how the world works.

It is good to be mad about bankers and politicians.. but the real target should be European institution like tee ECB, the financial complex in germany and the crazy economic policy they carried.

A friend told me, they  stole us Europe and nobody protested. It is time to protest.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 03:45:20 PM EST
These are two graphs from a (free daily) Dutch newspaper:

The first graph is mortgage debt in % GDP, the second is house prices with reference to 1985. The color code for countries (from blue to red, as in the lower right corner): US, UK, Ireland, Spain, Netherlands. The right end of the top graph for the US is at 71%.

How many economists are asking how economies can recover with so much private debt?  

by das monde on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:05:25 AM EST
Steve Keen is asking. Some MMT economists are asking.

No mainstream economists. Private debt being too high is clearly impossible for the same reasons banks taking on such unprotected risk that the private financial system is at risk of collapse is clearly impossible.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 09:53:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there EU-based MMT economists?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 10:03:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd enquire of some of the attendees at the European PK conference scheduled for a fortnight ago.

That link is actually the call for papers, so its obviously dated, but it has emails of some of the organizing committee.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 05:56:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joan Muysken from uni maastricht has been a co-author for bill mitchell.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 08:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The debt exposure graph is the secret that must not be spoken in this bad play.
I feel somewhat bad to be holding the passport of country number 2 (and to reside in country number 3). To my defence I can only point out that I was so against the current government that I joined a party in order to try and defeat it.

Not that it's directly related, but this "screw the weak" attitude reminds me of a recent event.

We had someone at home for dinner -not a bad person but maybe not someone who asks too many questions about the system.
So, this is someone who, at 36, makes around 130-150k£ a year I think, and though being a single woman wants to buy a house at least 120m2 big.
At some point, after my wife and I had mentioned how we may want some things to change workwise, which were not about money, she mentioned how she was looking to all opportunities and that for her it was all about money (oh? I'd been told that her recent change was because stress in the previous job was playing on her health, surely that must matter as well).

So, I asked how that could be since she certainly had enough to live comfortably. She said that yes, but she wanted to be able to retire in a few years time.

Then I, ever the party popper, suggested that, to the extent that she would achieve that, it would be a failure of the system. That surprised her somewhat. so I explained that there was little reason why we (we don't make so much but I didn't want to turn it into a personal accusation) should be able to retire at 45 when the vast majority, who have jobs that I wouldn't want to swap for mine even with equal pay, should be forced to go on till 67 and end up with hardly any savings.

Her answer: "but that's how capitalism works".

Wow. First, no. Sweden is capitalist. But if it was the case with every capitalist country, I believe you should say "that's how capitalism fails to work". Later it turned out that she believed that the UK was about the most equal a developed country could be -nevermind that it's one of the most unequal.

It ended with "so you're a socialist then". I had to go to the kitchen at the time so I couldn't ascertain whether that was meant in negative overtones or just as a sincere question.
But, there was clearly the idea that "screw the weak" is how it's supposed to work. Not done in order to do it, but it's part of the system you see, and we should have the aspirations that the system wants us to have, because otherwise it's no longer capitalism, and we know that it's the only thing that works.

So they may not weep for the Spanish. I do - yo lloro.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:37:48 AM EST
I would be interested in this person's educational background.

In the UK, the "top" public schools are notorious for producing people with a gigantic sense of entitlement. Pupils are told repeatedly to consider themselves social leaders, and taught to "compete" mercilessly.

This is considered a feature, not a bug.

It's worth repeating again that a key problem is that some individuals are happy to consider themselves predators, and don't have any moral scruples whatsoever about this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:08:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She's an actuary.
So short, specific, high-skill-no-broad-view studies.

Don't know if that's relevant, but she's also a second generation Indian -there may be something there, as India was certainly plundered in the "screw the weaks" logic of the British empire.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:55:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some would call her response "identification with the agressor", as when one who has been the victim of domestic violence in childhood proceeds to adopt the behaviors they experienced toward others.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 08:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but that's not how I read it.
I don't think she'd be happy to see herself as a predator.

But there is the idea of not questioning the system. Honestly, I believe that this is strong even in France, but I have the intuition that the English system of few subjects for A level, then a short period at university (at least in that field: actuaries qualify here with a mere BSc -it takes the equivalent of an MSc in France and, even then, many of them undertake that after other studies) makes it worse.

So many of these actuaries (my wife working as one, I meet many) seem, for example, to have very little understanding of economics. Oh, some will say "I have great belief in the outcome of the market", but that's not an understanding.
And that baffles me. Honestly, if you are going to spend your life modelling financial risks, you might conceivably have some curiosity about how economics really work. But no, it seems to be mostly repeating the same tools without seeking the broader view.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the posh boys don't see themselves as predators either. But they don't need to.

Oh, some will say "I have great belief in the outcome of the market", but that's not an understanding.

No, it's not. But it is a narrative, which is the next best thing.

Narratives are like that. My pet theory is that narrative logic is an evolutionary adaptation that makes it possible for humans to invent and share ad hoc rules and tribal ethics in a simple and efficient way.

Analysis and critical thinking are relative luxuries, and are only possible through training, practice, focussed effort, and undistracted time.

The natural human state is a naive and superficial acceptance of narratives. The potential for change only exists when a narrative collides with reality through personal experience that demonstrates that it's false and unhelpful.

My guess is that for some British asians these kinds of Randian values seem like a good thing because the personal hook is self-improvement from a downbeaten and limited history.

She might change her mind if she's made unemployed and finds it impossible to find a job because her work is outsourced (to Asia?)

But that won't happen unless the system fails her personally, and she has the realisation that there is a game being played, and it isn't necessarily rigged in her favour.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I won't dignify Ayn Rand with a full reading, but my understanding from reading rather too much of her apologists is that Randian actually welcome that state of affairs.

Not the case with my friend, who was more in the "I guess it'd be nice otherwise but that's the only way it works isn't it?".
Which, admittedly, takes a lack of curiosity about the world, but that's something I had come to expect (hell, she likes Orlando as a holiday destination).
Until I mentioned it she probably never gave a thought to the implications in terms of inequality of quite a few people being able to retire at 45 (without being entrepreneurs to boot).

But she also says that 500k£ is too much to spend for a house (though in Central London it's hard to go much under that), so there may be some hope yet ;-)

I agree with you that "Analysis and critical thinking are relative luxuries, and are only possible through training, practice, focussed effort, and undistracted time." (well, maybe undistracted time is not fully required, or even focussed effort, for someone whose mind is tuned in that way).
But you started with training. Is that not what education is supposed to give us? I was not trained in an English speaking system -only my last, MSc year in European Studies, but then there were very few English people in the course. Does education tend to help or hinder analysis and critical thinking here?

There may be an epochal thing to it, too. I have the impression (maybe wrong, the plural of anecdote not being data) that in France too, they are getting less common. But France is still a highly politicised country, so I would guess that there is a bit more of it.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Until I mentioned it she probably never gave a thought to the implications in terms of inequality of quite a few people being able to retire at 45 (without being entrepreneurs to boot).

But she also says that 500k£ is too much to spend for a house (though in Central London it's hard to go much under that), so there may be some hope yet ;-)

She wants her cake and to eat it, too. Where's the hope in that?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 03:28:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She might change her mind if she's made unemployed and finds it impossible to find a job because her work is outsourced (to Asia?)

what I often see among the younger people who find themselves in this predicament is not understyanding, but a sense of personal failure. They internalize the system's failings as their own. After all, that's about the only way failure can be interpreted in a system based on successful competition as the definer of worth.  

But that won't happen unless the system fails her personally, and she has the realisation that there is a game being played, and it isn't necessarily rigged in her favour.

Same result as above- I'd bet she already knows there's a multi-level game being played, but at present she sees herself as one of the winners.
Millions of people- a huge segment of market-world are victims of sixty years Edward Bernays's wonderful technology.
To lose-even in a riggeed game- means you're a loser.

It's even coded into the language by now.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:
at present she sees herself as one of the winners.

That's exactly it. You can accept this system when you're young if you believe you at least will win out. That belief being a mixture of romantic faith in the individual, and self-applied pressure ("I'm going to  make it because failure isn't an option...").

geezer in Paris:

To lose-even in a riggeed game- means you're a loser.

Bingo again. The internalised sense of individual failure.

Reminds me of this, from The Reef by Edith Wharton:

She recalled having read somewhere that in ancient Rome the slaves were not allowed to wear a distinctive dress lest they should recognize each other and learn their numbers and their power. So, in herself, she discerned for the first time instincts and desires, which, mute and unmarked, had gone to and fro in the dim passages of her mind, and now hailed each other with a cry of mutiny.

Losers of the world, unite!

Mutinous thoughts of our minds, unite!

 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 05:53:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TBG
My pet theory is that narrative logic is an evolutionary adaptation that makes it possible for humans to invent and share ad hoc rules and tribal ethics in a simple and efficient way.

I would think this is almost certainly true. If a behavior works >80% of the time and does not result in the death of a large number of those who employ it when it fails, it is highly likely to persist. If it persists, genetic changes that favor are more likely to emerge. Plus the narrative can always change in response to events. The neuro-physiological bases of social speech?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 10:10:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really think it's about education in the formal sense.

We're living through an age of austerity in the UK designed and endorsed by an elite that has many graduates of Oxford's PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degree...

It's much more about the neo-liberal/Austrian propaganda that the economy is a force of nature, a self-righting, self-stabilising system. And the accompanying "law of the jungle," "meritocracy" drum beat from the same source, amplified in the Daily Mail...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 11:09:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you realise that I would not knowingly entertain a Daily Mail reader for dinner ;-)

You may be right, maybe it's not linked to education. And certainly the Austrian propaganda (with its associated "if you don't sing the gospel you'll never get one of the good jobs") is a serious pain in the neck.

But I remain surprised by the change between France and England, people working the same jobs, the English had lots of qualities (they were, in general, much friendlier in their work relations), but apparently much less curious of the world (apart from the football-playing world, of course).
Is that because we need to learn another language, whereas you don't necessarily? Or just that we like to argue and need to find subjects to argue about?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm actually not the best qualified to comment on Britons in general, as I seem to mostly attract/interact with discursive people - and I spent a long time living abroad - but I guess I haven't found people to be as incurious overall as you. Misinformed however...

That said, I think that the key element to my argument is that here in Britain, Thatcher not only won an election, she won the discourse to the point that many people believe that "she saved Britain from the unions / saved Britain from itself / saved Britain from the looney left."

I am a similar age (and possibly partly similar profile) to this lady. The key difference could be personality, it could be that I grew up in the North of England (which received the harshest blows from Thatcher) or it could be that my Dad has always been interested in politics, so I grew up aware that there is a debate to be had about how things are done...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:38:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the idea that after Thatcher there are no classes any more in Britain which explains why Cyrille's friend could believe that Britain was more equal than other countries. Which is patently absurd when one first comes from abroad - Britons' social class is very visible.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 03:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expand on that point. Britain (England?) has a very strong class-based culture (in fact I read Hindu India's present system of four castes is a colonist creation, with the Brits classifying and grouping hundreds of clans into castes modelled on British society) that is intimately tied to language. Which doesn't just mean dialects and mannerisms that are more class-based than locality-based, but discussions that are less about exchanging thoughts about subjects than about reinforcing community by regurgitating the same memes that can be safely assumed to be shared. Such behaviour is of course far from being specific to the subcultures of classes in England, but never do I get as strong a sense of posters engaging in social confirmation with second-hand talking points rather than expression of own thought than when viewing discussion forums of British media.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 08:16:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exchange at my book group:

"A; I love living in this village. It's like a little microcosm of England. We have so many different types here with interesting stories. One of everyone."

"B: Except ethnics."

[awkward silence]

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 08:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
they were, in general, much friendlier in their work relations

The friendliness is an aspect of English culture, without which you are seen as a curmudgeonly outsider. But beware, it often hides extremely self-seeking attitudes. And is, in any case imo, a form of denial of the class system, a kind of soggy blanket covering up the differences.

I prefer the discursive/argumentative culture of the French. One of the reasons why I took to France.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 05:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
The friendliness is an aspect of English culture, without which you are seen as a curmudgeonly outsider. But beware, it often hides extremely self-seeking attitudes.

very continental judgment! as half brit half italiano, i have to say i agree.

not that self-seeking attitudes are foreign to the other euro counties either, it's just gone further in that direction in England. what used be a victorian frosty politeness is now covered with a sauce of 'mateyness', but its ability to truly warm the heart is rare.

i put it down to centuries of satanic mills.

industrialism lifted many out of rural penury, but then ground them under its heel eventually anyway, now the chinese get their turn at despoilers-in-chief, what can stop them?

certainly not our moralising about anything. this is what dooms capitalism-as-we-know-it, its the old model that's rotting under our feet but we can't seem to let go of it and move on without blood spilled, so over the falls (into the streets) we 'must' go... you can try and squeeze humans into being machine cogs only so long before enough get indignant enough to claim their lives back.

resistance may well be futile, simply allowing the status quo to hold its sorry course is worse. ya takes ya pick.

(and shovel).

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 22nd, 2011 at 11:45:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience of working in London for 4 years was that I thought I had lots of friends - in work and around the fringes of work.  However when I left the UK (but not the company) hardly any stayed in contact - although I remained on the same corporate e-mail system.  The friendship seemed largely instrumental, about career advancement, getting the work done etc.  Even those I had helped very substantially in their careers disappeared.

Whereas in Ireland, friendships originating in a work context often transcended the work context, to the point where the work context becomes irrelevant or incidental.  Perhaps it was because I never saw myself as settling down in the UK, or because it is much larger, more urbanised and more mobile society.  People rarely stayed with the company more than a few years in the UK - whereas in Ireland the norm was lifetime employment increasingly undermined as the "English" managerial culture became dominant.

Certainly there was no sense that the English would ever challenge the corporate system, whereas many Irish prided themselves on their subversive capabilities. Perhaps it is reflective of the difference between a colonised and a colonising culture.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 06:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There used to be a culture of subversion and challenge with the unions, but the British - like the most aggressively independent and ¨individualistic¨ Americans - are basically timid but angry conformists.

You won't find much direct confrontation or challenge in the workplace, but you will find epidemic levels of passive aggression and sullen incompetence.

As for friendships - I wouldn't expect much from corporate friendships. But I do have British friends who've been anything but trite and transient - very much the opposite - so I'd expect the impermanence to be more about the situation.

Britain hasn't had a positive image to aspire to since the end of the 50s, which is when the old benign middle-class paternalism became impossible to take seriously.

The end of empire confused everyone, and there's been no leader with a positive vision - as opposed to a negative, mean-spirited, and racist vision - of what the UK could be.

The UK could become a very interesting place if someone like that appeared - like a Brtish Obama, but for real.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 07:50:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
There used to be a culture of subversion and challenge with the unions, but the British - like the most aggressively independent and ¨individualistic¨ Americans - are basically timid but angry conformists.

You won't find much direct confrontation or challenge in the workplace, but you will find epidemic levels of passive aggression and sullen incompetence.

very true...

ThatBritGuy:

The UK could become a very interesting place if someone like that appeared - like a Brtish Obama, but for real.

i wonder if that's true of anywhere on the planet...  

ThatBritGuy:

Britain hasn't had a positive image to aspire to since the end of the 50s

don't forget beatlemania, albion's last enduring global image success story!

the positive, paternal image got upsided then, but brits still knew how to have irreverent fun.

watching that spirit of freedom turned into a fashion industry has been a heartbreaking hallmark of the late 60's onward and downward spiral of brit kulcha, now mostly a sorry parody, except of course what's under the msm radar, still innovative and real, vital and edgy.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 04:48:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. So deeply ingrained as to be as invisible as continental drift.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:49:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for sharing that story, cyrille, it rings true to my experiences as well.

Cyrille:

"I have great belief in the outcome of the market", but that's not an understanding.
And that baffles me.

the market has made many people rich, either through the merit of being able to finesse it to personal advantage, or simply being the rentier class with asset values rising for decades since ww2.

it reminds me of a boat heading for the falls, with the passenger saying there haven't been any falls for miles, why should there be one now?

the market has made many people rich, many more than it has cheated directly and indirectly, many pensions paid through corporate plunder shares rising.

now it's all changing... thus more people questioning the pedestal money is placed on, cracks turn to fissures, to chasms, to abysses.

but many still do not see the flaws, because they keep their heads down and noses to the grindstone, good grasp on the tree, poor comprehension of the forest.

sigh, when these disenchanted hit the streets, it's much harder to brand them as 'commiepinkoradicalagitators' as they have been grist for the very mill they have learned painfully now to distrust and decry.

in the arab street revolutions, everyone was looking for the bushy mullahs, the illiterate gunmen tribalists, hirsute cavedwellers with hundreds of millions of saudi-UAE buckaroos to subvert the system hegemon satrapies, but what made them so arresting was the high number of 'normal' people, yer doctors, lawyers, pro classes normally much too busy being middle class well-offers, until their rugs are pulled from under them, and they too realise who pays to keep the juggernaut rolling.

so it doesn't baffle me too much, 3 generations bathed in milk now, it is all too 'natural' to believe that cow will always be around, and if there's only enough milk for the fortunate, well tant pis. without capitalism's (purposely) arcane jiggery-pokeries there's no cow at all, they reason blithely.

what's really baffling is how long people can extend and pretend that just because capitalism benefited them, that it's written in stone that it has no peer, and evermore shall be amen.

i don't see any problem with modified capitalism, but right now to get it to some really socially acceptable form, it need a massive intervention of compassionate concern for the common weal, such as probably initiated the jubilees of ancient times.

they have cantilevered debt out so far the whole building has started to shudder and lean.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 22nd, 2011 at 11:31:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i don't see any problem with modified capitalism, but right now to get it to some really socially acceptable form, it need a massive intervention of compassionate concern for the common weal, such as probably initiated the jubilees of ancient times.

The problem is that ancient jubilees were instituted by sovereigns who were concerned with the political, economic and military viability of their states, though not so conceptualized, and who had the power to act. Instead, what we currently have in Europe is more like a pirates' cabal that has taken over a modern version of the Holy Roman Empire, (the EU), and the Papacy, (the ECB). The pirates can only agree on further looting and the HRE and Papacy are too fragmented to agree on a plan to stop them.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 10:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how can you run a casino if players have no more chips?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 05:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you mean, "Work at a casino."

Clearly, running a casino is a longterm avocation. We have short-termers working the casino.

by Upstate NY on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 07:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But not, as far as I know, a boarding school alumni. She certainly didn't go to Eton.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But isn't the whole point of the Public School system to produce an elite of "appropriately" educated leaders who should naturally expect lesser social classes to follow the lead because their "merit" demands it and entitles them to it?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 05:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have some friends, good friends and good people too on a personal bases who make a really, really big money (mostly specialists doctors with private practice).We do not talk about politics or money in wider sense. They simply DO NOT WANT to think or understand broader picture. They simply only care how to pay less tax ( always crying out loud about high taxes in Australia) and how many new properties ( or other means) they can find to make their money work for them better ( never happy with what bank gives them to keep that money in the bank ( around 6-7%). They simply do not need any more money (they can retire straight away) and even their children can retire right now, but NO, it's never enough. That's why I avoid that kind of talk. But I have to admit that maybe in their situation I would beehive same way...I cannot guaranty...From my situation picture is somehow different.
At some point few years ago when one couple (good friends) who have their private interior design business started to make pretty good money we had a conversation. My husband being an engineer worked for   some company (his profession was already in crises being outsourced slowly to India) and his salary was stagnant for some time and I said how people are struggling lately with salaries being stagnant and prices going up. They did not seem to care saying something like: "its market capitalism, bla bla bla..." Then I said "Look if there is no middle class and if we do not have money for whom do you think you will make your kitchens, shops etc..." Now when housing boom is design slowly and Chinese are coming with pretty good quality and cheap kitchens and people are struggling to pay mortgage let alone renovate they are feeling a pinch...Suddenly they understand very well what I was talking about.
I do not expect people to understand and sympathise...not in this climate that I have seen here in last 10 years or so.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 10:49:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The most recent news is that the Constitutional court has ruled in favor of all protests, but I doubt this is the end of it.
What you likely saw is trolling by ElPais or some other media on the fact that The Constitutional Court Upheld Demonstrations on Reflection Days in a 2010 decision. But this doesn't make law and still the electoral board gets to decide. The latest news is that The Electoral Board has banned protests on Saturday. The organizers of the 15M protests have decided not to call for continued demonstrations, "but people will go to Sol it they feel like it".

One thing is clear: the organizers of this are legally and politically savvy.

On Wednesday they told people to not bring any alcohol into the crowd in order to avoid being removed by application of the anti-botellón municipal ordinance [which was enacted to prevent groups of youths having inpromptu drinking parties on streets and public squares].

Yesterday, after the electoral commission banned the protests for allegedly interfering with the electoral campaign, the organizers told people to not talk about political parties.

Today, they're saying that they won't officially call for a demonstration but people are individually free to do what they want.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:51:50 AM EST
Yes.  I saw that.  Deeply confusing.  It looked like the Constitutional Court was allowing it before they banned it.

I can't help but think that these guys would do good to adopt some techniques like bikelocking. You put a large u-loop lock around your neck and connect it to another persons, and then sit down.  It makes it impossible for the police to move you without risking breaking your neck.  The video I took when we did it at my university explains it pretty well:



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 06:07:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops. See here and here.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 06:10:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like I said, it was the media putting pressure on the electoral board by pointing out the Constitutional Court decision of 2010.

This is not the US: the Constitutional Court doesn't make law.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 06:13:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To add to the confusion, the Valencia provincial electoral board upheld the right of the protesters to keep their gatherings. It appears that the Madrid provincial electoral board is singuarly reactionnary.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 03:07:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live Webcast From Biggest Spanish Protest Yet  Video at zero hedge

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:45:20 AM EST
they have so far been peaceful. Yet with 21% unemployment, and according to some over half of youth without a job, just how long until someone decides to send a flaming Molotov cocktail at the riot police? Watch a live webcast from Spain below.
Tyler Durden is totally off base here.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 03:36:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Direr Turden:
over half of youth without a job

That wouldn't be the good old Unemployment Rate fallacy at work?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 05:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. 2010 unemployment rate (Eurostat) for Spanish under-25s was 41%.

See my response to talos below.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 06:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Youth unemployment is  currently at 44.6 % in Spain. It is at 20.7 on average in the EU 27. Source:Labour Market Fact Sheet May 2011 (pdf)

"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char
by Melanchthon on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 10:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However:

Labour market participation by sex and age - Statistics explained

Persons aged 15-24 tend not to be in the labour force: in 2009, 56.1% of young men and women in that age category in the EU-27 were inactive, making a total of 33.3 million persons. The rate of inactivity in this age group ranges from 28.3% in Denmark and 28.4% in the Netherlands to 75.4% in Hungary and 70.9% in Italy. Differences between countries are largely explained by the number of students having or seeking a job (as they are then classified as employed or unemployed instead of inactive persons, even if the job is a minor one).



"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char
by Melanchthon on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 10:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Zapatero says austerity averted EU bail-out

Spain would "very probably" have needed a bail-out by the European Union last year without the government's imposition of a harsh austerity plan, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Socialist prime minister, said on Friday.

Mr Zapatero was defending his record ahead of regional and municipal elections on Sunday that are likely to see the Socialists lose substantial ground to their rightwing opponents in the Popular party (PP).

He and his government now face criticism not only from the PP but from thousands of young Spaniards, many previously sympathetic to the left, who have staged demonstrations in cities across the country to protest against high unemployment and the domination of politics by the two main parties.




Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 10:28:58 AM EST
He meant to say that by doing what the ECB orders he still counts on the ECB to treat spanish debt as European debt.. and expects the ECB to buy as much debt as needed to keep interest rates below 5.5% for the 10 year-bonds.

Of course, if Trichet one morning has not been treated properly in his super-ego he can send Spain the way he is sending Greece.. and finish off the euro.. well finishing Spain, because I am not sure the Spanish politicians will have the courage to send France and Germany right-wing nuts to hell and break with the euro.

A pleaure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 11:43:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain has 300% of GDP private debt. And from these at least 200% are real estate debts.

This is what "the left" is all about. Party for bankera and oligarchs.

by kjr63 on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 03:26:53 PM EST
"And from these at least 200% are real estate debts."

Really?
Financial debt is 80-90%. This should mostly be from banks to other banks (or insurance companies), not real estate. Then household debts are similar, around 80-90%, now this should be real estate mostly. Are you suggesting that ALL non-financial business debt is real estate?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 03:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand, most of non-financial debts are construction business debts. Very hard to find data, however.
by kjr63 on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:01:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe not. The problem is that several spanish corporations (some of them building companies) were buying things in Europe with debt (aka, London airports, etc.)
by kukute on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 05:23:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"(aka, London airports, etc.)"

Same thing. Rent-seeking, not productive investment.

by kjr63 on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 04:55:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPIEGEL alert light. Generation Sovereign Crash
The problem for Spain's politicians: The Spanish youth they are losing now is a group that should have been an ally for reforms.

... But in contrast to other countries young people are in Spain are on limited job contracts especially long. That's due to stringent lay-off protection in Spain. According to a study by the World Bank only a few countries make it more expensive to terminate a permanent employee. Thus the OECD says there is a "strong segmentation of the market between temporary and permanent jobs" which "influences the career of young people in negative ways".

... It's also a generational conflict that exacerbates the crisis and not just there. In Greece a third of people under 25 is unemployed while early retirees draw opulent pensions.

... The Spanish government under Zapatero has tried to do something about the plight. Last summer it passed a labor market reform that sought liberalization of job protection and compensation. Businesses were to be encouraged to give younger employees more indefinite contracts.

But that hasn't helped Zapatero. His PSOE is dismissed by the young Spaniards almost as much as the conservative PP... Though the wrath is understandable -tax hikes and cuts in welfare also hurt the youth. But in contrast to the older generations they could profit from the reduction of privileges.

The loss of trust in the EU is also alarming. While finance and domestic politics had already been completely out of favor, Europe offered some hope. Even in January the news agency EFE reported that young Spaniards were longingly waiting for the arrival of the German chancellor. The reason for that was a Spiegel article reporting the intention by the CDU to dampen the lack of skilled workers in Germany by recruiting Southern Europeans.

Now Merkel has accused the Southerners of laziness and pressed for sharper reforms. That's not received well in Spain. On a poster of a demonstrator Merkel was equated to the hated finance world: "Fuck Angela Merkel and the rating agencies!"



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:40:11 PM EST
I'm beggining to sound like a broken record but is there something with German media that prevents them from making qualified claims?

In Greece a third of people under 25 is unemployed while early retirees draw opulent pensions.

I submit that before the austerity onslaught the average pension in general in Greece (never mind the significantly reduced early retirement pensions) was under 8000 Euros per annum and that only 15% of retirees of any sort made over 15.000 Euros. There is no way that one can thus significantly talk of opulent pensions as the stumbling block to youth employment.

Where do they get their numbers? Is there a Bild statistics RSS feed that every serious publication Germany must use?

And don't you love it how conveniently the reason for high unemployment is not enough labor flexibility? Having a decent pay and not being at the mercy of managerial socipaths, is a "privilege".... You must either be destitute and unemployed or poor and working, these are the available options in Spain it seems...

And that's Spiegel mind you, in the act of debunking even more preposterous negative stereotypes in German political disourse, hardly the worse one can do.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 06:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel:
In Greece a third of people under 25 is unemployed

The usual rubbish from ignorant or deliberately mendacious journalists. Greek under-25 Unemployment Rate in 2010, according to Eurostat, was 33%. That means 33% of the labour force ie (those who have a job + those who are officially seeking one). That excludes all under-25s who are inactive, principally due to education.

In Greece 2010, Eurostat reports an activity rate for the under-25s of 30%. That means, applying the unemployment rate to that to which it properly applies, the percentage of Greek under-25s that are seeking employment is 30/33%, or 10%.

That's not to belittle the importance of youth unemployment, just to say that this is false statistics in the service of a narrative.

Spiegel:

In Greece a third tenth of people under 25 is unemployed

Fixed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 06:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, the only quibble is that at this particular juncture there is an unprecedented, in recent decades, demand for work even among students, thus making the actual computation difficult. 200.000 under 25s are registered in the Unemployment Office. The population of this age group (16-25) is, I estimate indirectly, around 1,5 million. Thus the true unemployed in the population 16-25 are ~17% of the relevant population. However I would bet a lot of money that the largest proportion of these are in the 23-25 group. I would also add that this number will not take into those that have abandoned trying and immigrants who would fear to apply to the unemployment office,...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 07:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's hard to construct a view that takes the real situation into account, since the stats that are officially sanctioned are gross and insensitive to social reality, so underestimate the real problems people face.

And the group that is subject to the most misunderstanding/media manipulation is the 15-24 group - as you say, probably the biggest real problems are in the older part of the group (the younger part being mostly in fulltime education).

As you'll have understood, my point is to denounce external media distortions used in the service of a xenophobic narrative: "the young are out of work while the old are lolling around at society's cost" - neither term of which is as true as Spiegel's false facts make out.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 07:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, not exactly. Students having a job or looking for one are not counted as inactive (students having undeclared jobs - and not seeking one - are obviously counted as inactive):

Labour market participation by sex and age - Statistics explained

students having or seeking a job (as they are then classified as employed or unemployed instead of inactive persons, even if the job is a minor one).


"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char
by Melanchthon on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 11:05:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But how do you know whether a student is seeking a job if there is no job to be found?

You can ask them, but surveys have other issues (with people who have stopped looking because they realise that it's futile, for instance).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 04:08:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question applies to all countries (more or less).

What bothers me in this is that, quite rightly, we wish to point out that young people are angry about their lack of prospects (whether they are currently formally unemployed or not). But the neolib narrative is only too happy to up the ante on that by talking about a third or half of under-25s looking for work. Why?

Because they have labour market reforms to sell us.

The whole (seemingly endless) media saga on youth unemployment, in which the official unemployment rate is never correctly construed, is about that: what you need is labour market "reforms".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 05:10:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, "reform" is always and everywhere the agenda.

Unemployment is low? The inflation monster is just around the corner, so we need to remove rigidities.

Unemployment is high? Removing labour market rigidities will make employers more likely to hire.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 05:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the poster that was used to call people to the initial demonstration last Sunday:

Youth without future

No house

No Job

No pension

No fear

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 05:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
how do you know whether a student is seeking a job if there is no job to be found?

When he/she is registered at the public employment service. If he/she is not, then he/she is counted as inactive.

"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char

by Melanchthon on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 07:30:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One possible move would be to encourage all to register at the public employment service every month during the same week.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 07:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(The worst thing that could happen is that you get a crappy job. It probably won't last anyway.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 07:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least in Sweden almost no students are registered at the employment office. As students they are not eligible for unemployment benefits anyway, so there is no point. It is not like registering at the employment office gives you a job.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun May 22nd, 2011 at 06:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The employment office doesn't do part time jobs, then?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 10:23:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The construction of the employment office was set up during the days of full employment, and might have served other purposes then. Since Sweden entered the club of large unemployment policy they largely handle the unemployment, checking that unemployed reaches various checks for unemployment aid (like not studying) and sending unemployed on various courses and programs, content depending on political trends.

The only useful service they provide for a student wanting a part-time job is the employment database, which is online and does not require any registration.

As an anecdote, a friend of mine who had not grasped the system tried to register at the unemployment office despite studying and described a dialogue that went:

  • You study so you do not qualify for any unemployemnt benefits.
  • I do not want benefits, I want a job.
  • Are you going to drop your studies?
  • No, but I also want a job.
  • But then you do not qualify for any unemployemnt benefits.

He left unregistered.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 03:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So there is an x/or function describing students and the employed. How very neo-con. Can't contaminate the sacred statistics. I presume there is no such category as "part time student", for employment purposes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 08:05:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no.

Employed students are counted as employed, and therefore part of the workforce.

Unemployed students are counted as students, and thus not in the workforce.

Underemployed students are counted as employed (and thus in the work force) for the fraction of their time they are employed and students (and therefore not in the workforce) for the fraction of their time they are not employed.

The net result is to synthetically lower the reported unemployment rate for 16-25 yr-olds, in the same way various retirement programmes synthetically lower the rate for 50+ yr-olds (you are less likely to go into retirement if you have job prospects, so some early retirees would have not retired if there had been jobs available).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 06:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is correct. However, European countries don't appear to apply the same rigorous measurement of student employment. So we have the great differences shown by the chart posted by Melanchthon upthread.

There, Danish under-25 inactivity is cited at less than 30%, which means, not only that a lot of students also have jobs, but that the fact is carefully recorded.

France, otoh, shows the reverse (not in the chart, but the numbers are well-known): around 70% under-25 inactivity - as if no students had a job, which is simply not the case. INSEE says that their Labour Force Survey counts students with jobs in the workforce. Something is going wrong in the recording process?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 07:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There, Danish under-25 inactivity is cited at less than 30%, which means, not only that a lot of students also have jobs, but that the fact is carefully recorded.

The ability to tie all public in- and out-flows of funds (and births, and deaths, and hospitalisations, and crime, and changes of residence) to a particular personal or commercial identification code makes the Danish statistical service scarily accurate.

INSEE says that their Labour Force Survey counts students with jobs in the workforce. Something is going wrong in the recording process?

If they count the same way the Danish statistical service does, a student who works 5 hours a week is recorded as 14 % active. So if all students worked 5 hours a week and 15-20 % of the age group were not students or otherwise outside the labour force, you'd get around 30 % labour force participation rate.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 11:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Re France, there are a couple of big ifs there. I've seen no methodology that supports the view that INSEE does such detailed accounting. And, for this to work, all students would have to have a job. Which they don't, just as surely as a good many do.

Re Denmark, wow, I didn't realize it was that efficient.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 03:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has been since the late '60s, when everything was standardised and tied to the central person and business registry. Which also means that Denmark has the longest consistent, high-quality time series in the world for a lot of things. It is no coincidence that we do excellent epidemiology, to take one example.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 04:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So is there a category for UNemployed part time students? (Other than SOL?) Is that what I should have specified. :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 09:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The need to develop a government job guarantee programme administered through the employment offices becomes patent.

Also the extent to which current policy is one of preventing full employment.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 06:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ElPais.com in English channels manfrommiddletown: The #Spanish Revolution
Nobody expected the
...
...Real Democracy Now grassroots movement that overshadowed an election campaign to capture the imagination of the world
Who are these people?
Real Democracy Now was set up by Fabio Gándara, a 26-year-old law graduate, along with two friends: Eric Pérez, and another who prefers to remain anonymous. By early December, they had found another 10 or so like-minded individuals with the same ideas. They took their inspiration from protests in Iceland that resulted in prison sentences for some of those responsible for the country's bankruptcy as well as new legislation to prevent a future crisis.

...

In January, they widened their base by joining up with other groups that had sprung up in the wake of the financial crisis. They set up a new group on Facebook, called the Platform to Coordinate Groups for Citizen Mobilization. More organizations, platforms, and civic associations signed up. The list grew and grew.

...

The name caught on, a website was set up, and the movement grew on a daily basis as new groups joined in the debate. By mid-March, the first face-to-face meetings were being set up. "That was a very inspirational time. It was strange to suddenly meet all these people in person. But it was also how this became something real, tangible," says Gándara. "We could see that we were all very different, but that we agreed on the main points."



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 08:32:57 AM EST


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